Just guess which state has the price-gougiest hospitals

click to enlarge Those red dots don't represent sites of disease outbreaks. Not yet, anyway. - screen grab, washingtonpost.com
screen grab, washingtonpost.com
Those red dots don't represent sites of disease outbreaks. Not yet, anyway.

A report and nifty infographic on a recent study the Washington Post published Monday showed the geographic distribution of the country's most expensive hospitals.

Surprise: Florida's share is, by far, the biggest — there are 20 here. The Sunshine State also has five hospitals in the top ten.

Other surprise: most of the hospitals are either affiliated with HCA (the one Governor Rick Scott used to helm) and CHS (also a corporate hospital giant).

The study measured the percentage of cost markup each hospital employs, i.e. what they charged the uninsured versus what they charge Medicare.

The Post noted how the hospitals topping the list aren't in super-rich areas, which might have somewhat justified the markup.

“They are price-gouging because they can,” Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-author of the study in Health Affairs, told the Post. “They are marking up the prices because no one is telling them they can’t.”

The highest? Okaloosa Medical Center (tied with Carepoint Health-Bayonne Hospital in New Jersey), which is run by CHS. Their markup? 1,260 percent.

That means they are getting away with charging people who can't afford insurance more than 12 times what they're allowed to charge the feds.

Also in the top ten are Bayfront Health Brooksville (CHS), Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center (CHS), Orange Park Medical Center (HCA( and Oak Hill Hospital (HCA).

Other Tampa Bay area hospitals include St. Petersburg General Hospital, an HCA-run facility that charges uninsured/out-of-network patients 1,020 of that it charges Medicare, and Brandon Regional Hospital, another HCA joint, which marks its costs up some 960 percent.

No wonder Republican State lawmakers don't want to expand Medicaid! Those hospitals would lose so much money!

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